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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010 Nov;468(11):3012-8. doi: 10.1007/s11999-010-1481-7.

Local recurrence after initial multidisciplinary management of soft tissue sarcoma: is there a way out?

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  • 1McGill University Health Centre, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, QC, H3G 1A4, Canada.



Multimodality treatment of primary soft tissue sarcoma by expert teams reportedly affords a low incidence of local recurrence. Despite advances, treatment of local recurrence remains difficult and is not standardized.


We (1) determined the incidence of local recurrence from soft tissue sarcoma; (2) compared characteristics of the recurrent tumors with those of the primary ones; (3) evaluated local recurrences, metastases and death according to treatments; and (4) explored the relationship between the diagnosis of local recurrence and the occurrence of metastases.


From our prospective database, we identified 618 soft tissue sarcomas. Thirty-seven of the 618 patients (6%) had local recurrence. Leiomyosarcoma was the most frequent diagnosis (eight of 37). The mean delay from original surgery was 22 months (range, 2-75 months). Mean size was 4.8 cm (range, 0.4-28.0 cm). Median followup after local recurrence was 16 months (range, 0-98 months).


Recurrent tumors had a tendency toward becoming deeper seated and higher graded. Nineteen of the 37 patients with recurrence underwent limb salvage (nine free flaps) and six had an amputation. Twenty-two (59%) had metastases, including 10 occurring after the local recurrence event at an average delay of 21 months (range, 1-34 months). Six patients developed additional local recurrences, with no apparent difference in risk between amputation (two of six) and limb salvage (four of 19).


Patients with a local recurrence of a soft tissue sarcoma have a poor prognosis. Limb salvage and additional radiotherapy remain possible but with substantial complications. Amputation did not prevent additional local recurrence or death.

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